SC refuses to issue short order on Khaleda Zia's bail

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The High Court on March 12 granted four-month bail to BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, in which the former prime minister has been sentenced to five-year imprisonment. The apex court has upheld the High Court's order giving her bail.

Meanwhile, Khaleda's counsel and former law minister Barrister Maudud Ahmed said as his client is yet to secure bail in some more cases filed against her, she will not be able to come out of jail right now.

However, Mohammad Ali apologised to the court and said: "The court can react, but the court does not allow us (lawyers) to react".

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After hearing arguments on Tuesday, the Appellate Division set Wednesday to deliver its order on the two petitions filed challenging Khaleda's bail granted by the High Court.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court passed the order after Khaleda's lawyer submitted 11 petitions seeking adjournment of hearings of the cases.

Mahbubey Alam added that the HC could hear and dispose of the appeal filed by Khaleda challenging the trial court verdict that sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in this case.

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The 72-year-old Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson was jailed for five years on February 8 over the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about $250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her husband late Zia-ur-Rahman, a military ruler-turned-politician.

The court in February had also sentenced Zia's elder son Tarique Rahman, now in the United Kingdom, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment each, and fined them a total of 2.10 crore taka, saying that all the convicts have to pay the fine in equal amounts. "So, she'll have to stay in jail until she gets bail in the cases she was shown arrested". The conviction means that Zia, the archrival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, can be barred from running in December elections.

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